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How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War
 - A Series

by Jared Israel

Parts:  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5 


Part 5:  'The Neocons made me do it!'

[Posted 21 May 2004]

For titles and links to other articles in this series, see footnote [10]


On 9 December 1998, the San Francisco Examiner ran the following story: [1]

[Excerpt from SF Examiner article starts here]

Ex-U.N. arms inspector: Bomb Iraq

New York - Former United Nations arms inspector Scott Ritter has signed a contract to write a book in which he spells out his suggestions for dealing with Iraq: Bomb the country and overthrow its leader, Saddam Hussein.

"Nothing less will work, and nothing less is justified," Ritter is quoted as saying in Simon & Schuster's announcement Tuesday of his book, "The Iraq Solution," due out in April.

Ritter's book will discuss Hussein's use of chemical weapons against Kurds and Iranians, and "why he must be stopped" before he uses mass-killing weapons again, the publisher said.

Ritter, an ex-Marine, created a stir Aug. 26 when he quit the United Nations Special Commission that monitors Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. He said then that the panel's efforts were being undermined by vacillating American and U.N. policy-makers.


[Excerpt from SF Examiner article ends here]

The Simon and Schuster book announcement was also carried by the Associated Press, London Times, USA Today and Washington Times, and reported by various local news stations.  [2]

It caused a stir because Ritter had a powerful media presence. It was brought up by a reporter at the White House press briefing that day. The following exchange took place:

[Excerpt from White House briefing 9 December 1998 starts here]

Question: Joe, one more on Iraq.  Does the White House have any comment on Scott Ritter's comments, that the only way to settle this is to bomb Iraq?


[Excerpt from White House briefing 9 December 1998 ends here]

Seven days later the US launched a 3-day missile attack on Iraq.

Scott Ritter's book, "The Iraq Solution," was never published. The plan to publish it has never again been mentioned publicly by the proud author, or by his supposed enemies in the Bush government, or by the media, including the major newspapers that reported Simon and Schuster's announcement.  The White House reference to Ritter's pro-war book can be found on a lone US Information Service website in Australia; otherwise perhaps it would be a non-fact as well.

Simon and Schuster did publish a different book by Ritter. It is called "Endgame" and it proposes major concessions to Saddam Hussein and a diplomatic resolution to all problems with Iraq. Scott Ritter had reversed his position 180 degrees and the book announcement, evidence of his old stand, became an inconvenient fact; therefore it was erased. 


Scott Ritter's challenge


A month ago, Scott Ritter challenged me to present factual evidence that he is lying when he claims he never switched from Hawk to Dove. Well, I have presented lots of evidence, with more coming, but Ritter is silent. [3]

Ritter instructed me to read his book "Endgame" and also the chapter in "Frontier Justice" - chapter four - where he claims to prove he was never a Hawk.  I read both, and all I can say is either Scott Ritter believes nobody can think straight or he's suffering from serious hubris.  These two books in fact provide considerable evidence that Ritter is lying. Moreover they provide evidence that the political outlook of the anti-Iraq war movement, which blames militarism on so-called neoconservatives in the Bush government, is pure baloney.

The media has created a powerful fable about Scott Ritter: the Daring Warrior who defies Saddam Hussein, then crusades against invading Iraq. In Frontier Justice and in various public statements, Ritter has combined this fable with the myth of the neocons, producing the following lies:

Lie #1: The US drive for world domination is the work of neoconservatives, holdovers from the Reagan government who supposedly have close ties to the Israeli Likud Party.

Lie #2: These supposed schemers suffered a huge setback in their supposed attempt to hijack American power when Clinton won in 1992, but they regrouped, trying to pressure him from the outside.

Lie #3: To that end, Ritter claims they tried to whip up false hysteria over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq and  overthrowing Saddam Hussein - "regime change" even though, says Ritter, there were no such weapons. The 'neocons' supposedly  harassed Bill Clinton to get him to substitute "regime change" for the UN's agreed-on goal, disarming Iraq.

Lie #4:  Ritter claims that when he quit the UN weapon inspectors (UNSCOM) at the end of August 1998, the neocons organized a media blitz, presenting him as the poster boy for world conquest.  Ritter claims his reason for resigning was that all sides - Iraq, the UN Security Council and the US - were refusing to abide by the agreed-on rules for disarming Iraq. Ritter says he passionately believes in sticking to the rules. He says he opposed bombing or invade Iraq. He says the US had no business trying to carry out "regime change." Quite the contrary, says Ritter, in 1998 he advocated working out problems through diplomacy. But unscrupulous neocons supposedly distorted what he was saying. They misled the public into thinking Ritter considered an Iraq run by Saddam Hussein to be a deadly menace that had to be stopped through military action now or it would be a much bigger problem later.  Ritter claims that when he got tired of the neocons lying to the public about his views and tried to set the record straight, he was hounded and persecuted. Ever since, he says, the neocons have falsely accused him of "flipping" from Hawk to Dove, but according to him he was never a Hawk in the first place.

That's Ritter argument. If a word of it were true, it would have a certain moral character.  He  presents himself as the Clean-Cut American Boy ('everybody should play by the rules') juxtaposed to  the 'neocons' who (he says) try to hijack America with their sly, scheming, dishonest, vindictive ways, aiming at world domination.  Sort of like a comic book.

Given that we have been told umpteen times that the so-called neoconservatives are devoted to Israel - a view which has been driven into the collective mind by repetition even though it's a flat-out lie - keep in mind that Ritter's picture of the neocons (scheming, sly dishonest and vindictive) is identical to the antisemitic portrayal of Jews. Alas this image also sits in tens of millions of heads waiting for "evidence" like Ritter's.

The neocon myth is nothing more than a rehash of the old Democrats-aren't-as-bad-as-Republicans myth, with antisemitism tacked on.  In the '60s, most people Left of Center voted for Kennedy because, we were warned, Nixon would go to war with the communists. So Kennedy escalated in Vietnam and helped to almost end Western civilization during the Cuban missile crisis. Then we were told to vote for the Democrat, Lyndon B Johnson, because Republican Goldwater would really escalate in Vietnam, so we did, whereupon Johnson really escalated beyond Goldwater's fondest dreams. Then we got Nixon who continued Johnson's escalation, and so people said: "See?  The Republicans are worse!"

The notion that Bush's militarism represents a great departure from Clintonian moderation requires only one word of refutation: Yugoslavia.

It was under Clinton that the US got NATO to bomb Bosnia in support of the Islamic fundamentalist forces of Alija Izetbegovic. [4]

It was under Clinton that US forces led the Croatian army in driving 250,000 Serbs from their ancient homeland in the Krajina section of Yugoslavia. It was under Clinton that the US led NATO to bomb Yugoslavia for 78 days, including the Belgrade Embassy of a UN Security Council member (China). [5]

At the war's end, NATO, under US leadership, presided over the expulsion of another quarter million Serbs from their homes in Kosovo, the Jerusalem of Serbia. Kosovo province was turned over to the fascist-terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). [6]

It subsequently became a base for aggressive war against Serbia and Macedonia. All this was carried out under Clinton and continued under Bush. [7]

In case people don't remember, part of Bush's appeal in 2000 was that he would end so-called "nation building" wars (an amazing way to describe the destruction of Yugoslavia) and "humanitarian" bombing and that he would reserve US military power for protecting the US. Of course he was lying, but the idea that Bush's aggressive policies are a great departure from what Clinton did is simply bizarre. For example, Ritter claims that the neocons corrupted US policy under Bush by introducing the goal of "regime change" in Iraq.  But in fact that was part of US policy under Clinton, as stated by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright several times, including at a press conference in mid-December 1998. [8]

Regarding the increasingly pervasive claim that the neocons are servants of militant Zionism, we have done some work demonstrating that this is a lie, but we have much evidence we have not yet presented.  We must correct this. [9]

For the moment, I will limit myself to destroying Mr. Ritter's attempt to use his fable ("Fearless-Warrior-Transformed-to-Peacemaker") to support the neocon myth.  By demonstrating for you the extent of Ritter's dishonesty, I hope I will encourage you to be less trusting of the current crop of leaders of the anti-Iraq war movement, with their glib baloney about neocons, portrayed as having comic book goals, as if that explained US policy.

In the next article in this series I will show that:

1) Contrary to Ritter, the so-called neocons couldn't have falsely portrayed him as a Hawk in 1998 because he was a Hawk - and quite vocally so! I will quote from transcripts of interviews where Ritter advocates war with Iraq, faulting Clinton in Mid-November 1998 for missing a "window of opportunity" (his phrase!) to bomb Iraq, and then criticizing Clinton in mid-December, when he did bomb, for not going far enough. I will show that taken as a group, Ritter's list of  'neocons' spoke much less publicly about Iraq than Ritter!

2.  During the summer and fall of 1998, Ritter's words were not filtered through the mouths of the neocons. In fact, during Ritter's many media appearances in 1998 he never so much as mentioned the word 'neoconservative' and they hardly mentioned him. In 2002 Ritter invented the lie that in 1998 the 'neocons' fooled the public into believing he was a hawk in order to lend false historical credibility to the line of the anti-Iraq war movement, that the 'neocons' are the reason for US militarism. 

I could only find one instance instance when Ritter even mentioned any of the 'neocons.' This was in December 1998, when he mocked Paul Wolfowitz's pet project of using opposition groups to foment rebellion in Iraq.

3.  During this period, when Ritter was the most extreme of hawks, his heroes were John Kerry, likely the next President of the US, and Kerry's possible running mate, John McCain. McCain, a leading hawk, apparently helped Ritter prepare his Senate testimony in September 1998.

I'll go into these points in some depth in Part 6.

Jared Israel
Editor, Emperor's Clothes

[Footnotes and Further Reading follows the fundraising appeal]


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Please send this text or the link to a friend.

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Footnotes and Further Reading


[2] Ritter's book announcement is posted online, for example at
* USA Today
* 'In the Margins," (scroll down to near the bottom of the page)

[3] Other articles in the series, 'How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War':

* "Part 1: Hawk-to-Dove Scott Ritter challenges Emperor's Clothes to Prove he's a Liar. EC accepts." At

* "Part 2: The Source of the Claim that Iraq had Nuclear Weapons was... Scott Ritter," by Jared Israel at

* "Part 3: Reader Says Emperor's Clothes all wrong on Ritter's Nuke Statements; J.I. Responds."

*  "Part 4: Readers ask: 'Why this focus on Scott Ritter?" Jared Israel Respond"

[4] See "Who was Alija Izetbegovic?
Moderate 'George Washington' of Bosnia or Islamist Murderer?" at  and
"U.S. & Iran: Enemies in Public, but Secret Allies in Terror"

[5] "Lies, Damn Lies...& Maps - How NATO and the Media Misrepresented the Chinese Embassy Bombing," by Jared Israel

[6] See "Stranger than Fiction: NATO and the US Sponsor Terror in Kosovo and Macedonia," at

[7] Re: George Bush, Jr. in Kosovo, see "Western Media Demonizes Macedonia," at

[8] Please scroll down to part highlighted in yellow.

[Excerpt from Albright's press conference starts here]

SEC. ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I think there are kind of longer-, medium-, and shorter-term goals here. Obviously, the goal is at this -- the short-term goal at the moment through this military campaign is to degrade his ability to develop and deploy his weapons of mass destruction; to look at -- to degrade his command and control and some of his security areas so that he -- in order to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors. That is the short-term goal of what we are doing.

A medium-term goal is in fact to have him comply with the Security Council resolutions.

And I believe that he can't have two contradictory things, which is to have sanctions lifted and retain his weapons of mass destruction. So the medium-term goal is to -- he's the one who can't square that circle. And the only way here is for UNSCOM, a strong, professional, functioning UNSCOM with unfettered access to be able to continue to do its work. And again, for emphasis here, just keep in mind that it has not been able to do that. So if we can get a functioning UNSCOM back in, that is a plus. And we will continue our policy of containment of Saddam through the economic embargo and generally in terms of keeping him in his box.

Longer term, we have come to the determination that the Iraqi people would benefit if they had a government that really represented them. And so we know that this is something that cannot be done overnight, and we are working with the various opposition groups on a longer range way of trying to help them help themselves to have a regime that represents them. [That's bureaucrat-speak for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.-JI]

[Excerpt from Albright's press conference ends here]

[-- Federal News Service; December 17, 1998, Thursday; Section: State Department Briefing; Length: 2995 Words; Headline: Special Briefing By Secretary Of State Madeleine Albright; Re: Iraq; The State Department; Washington DC]

[9] The so-called neocons have been heavily involved in forcing Israel to accept a Palestinian state under the leadership of the PLO, which is dedicated to destroying Israel. Regarding Richard Cheney's involvement, see "If Richard Cheney's clique is really pro-Israeli, then...Why did Defense Sec'y Cheney Advocate Forcing Israel to Accept a Palestinian State in 1989?" at  

[10] Five pieces have so far been posted in Jared Israel's series, 'How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War':

* "Part 1: Hawk-to-Dove Scott Ritter challenges Emperor's Clothes to Prove he's a Liar. EC accepts." At

* "Part 2: The Source of the Claim that Iraq had Nuclear Weapons was... Scott Ritter," by Jared Israel at

* "Part 3: Reader Says Emperor's Clothes all wrong on Ritter's Nuke Statements; J.I. Responds."

*  "Part 4: Readers ask: 'Why this focus on Scott Ritter?" Jared Israel Respond"

* "Part 5: "The Neocons made me do it!"

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